Metbank ‘branchless’ banking sets new tone for innovative banking


Harare – Zimbabwe’s Metbank has set the tone for innovative digital banking with its intentional and strategic ‘branchless banking’, and has been hailed for creating employment opportunities for several impoverished youths in the country.

The bank, which has kept its branch footprint low, in comparison to other local and international banks has an established network of over 150 agents in and outside the country.

The network has been hailed by political analysts as ‘people’ driven, as it allows previously disadvantaged youths and vulnerable women, to participate in the lucrative banking sector by working as agents.

“What such a setup does is, it allows people who suffer from a skills deficit because of personal circumstances to participate in the banking sector. It certainly creates employment for vulnerable people.”

“When you look at the success MPESA has achieved in Kenya, uplifting several women, you can only appreciate such initiatives. They stand to lift up those at the bottom and empower them. The President has been echoing this development and empowerment agenda, and this is an example of a corporation contributing to the development agenda.”, South African based political commentator Arnold Mashasha told Khuluma Afrika.

Business analysts also hailed the move, stating that it is innovative and pushes the country towards its regional peers and industry leaders.

“When you compare with South Africa for example. You never have to go to the branch. I have only been to ABSA and Standard Bank SA when opening my account. My card was sent to my address, i bank on my app and use ATMS to deposit money. I literally have no need to go into the bank. This branchless banking is innovative because it pushes for a near similar set-up. People should not have to walk into a branch all the time,” Business analyst Sean Msindo said.

According to MetBank’s Director of Group Corporate Affairs & Marketing Shingai Koti the bank is pushing to “not only make visiting the branch unnecessary most of the time, but to ensure and guarantee that when one does it is a quick painless experience”.

This has been made possible through the launch of an ‘innovative queue management system’ which reduces congestion, waiting periods, the tension and stress that is sometimes associated with visiting a bank.

Correspondents who visited Harare’s main branch, which has been entirely remodelled to meet world class standards, witnessed first hand, the effective system which arguably competes with Capitec, and FnB in South Africa.

A second exclusive banking facility for high net worth clients established in an exclusive location in the capital, allowing private clients to enjoy silent seamless banking.

Zimbabwe’s banking sector has been facing immense criticism of late. During the early days of the cash crisis, banks took the rod for not pushing for plastic money use earlier, among an array of other things.